Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Alberta’s COVID-19 numbers remain “very high” as she reported 843 new cases from 10,301 tests and 26 more deaths.

Alberta has 13,411 cases, 919 hospitalizations in total and 140 patients in ICU.

“Our health-care system remains under significant pressure,” the chief medical officer of health said.

“We are seeing a stabilization in cases, with occasional days of low new cases due to lower testing volumes, but overall, new case numbers, hospitalization, and ICU admissions for COVID-19 are still very high in our province.”

Alberta’s R-value, or rate of transmission, between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3 is barely below 1 at 0.99. Calgary’s is 1.02 and Edmonton’s is 0.92.

The province has registered 106,378 cases and 1,168 deaths since March.

VACCINE ROLLOUT

Alberta Health Services has administered 26,269 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and plans to give out another 3,000 by the end of Tuesday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.

With that, Alberta will reach its “aggressive goal” of the 29,000 doses it said it would administer by the end of 2020.

“We're getting there only a few days later than we had hoped in spite of the need to plan around delivery times, and amounts that are consistently and constantly shifting outside of our control as a province,” Shandro said.

“We'll get the vaccines out as soon as we get them in starting this week.”

Hinshaw said another 13,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are on the way as Alberta begins Phase 1A of its vaccine plan to immunize health-care workers in home care and emergency departments.

TRAVEL CONTROVERSY

Shandro and newly appointed Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver joined Dr. Hinshaw in the first COVID-19 update since the UCP travel scandal.

Premier Jason Kenney was not in attendance.

On Monday, the premier punished the MLAs and staff that travelled out of the country during the holidays.

McIver, who replaced Tracy Allard as municipal affairs minister after she went to Hawaii, says he understands why Albertans are angry.

“Sometimes they're yelling, sometimes they're using hard language. And I guess the message that I would say to Albertans is, ‘You have every right to expect good behavior and a high standard of conduct from your government and Albertans get to judge whether government met those standards of good behavior.

“But there is no doubt in our mind: We didn't get it right. What we have to offer is a commitment to get it right…I'm not asking anybody to stop yelling. I'm just saying we're getting the message.”

Hinshaw will give another COVID-19 update Thursday.